FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 19, 2013
CONTACT: Tom Testa, 617-959-3887 or email@example.com
Sandy Holden, 617-635-4920 x 2213 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Boston) – Boston University (BU) and the City of Boston today officially marked the grand opening of the Boston University Fitness & Wellness Center at the BCYF Blackstone Community Center with a dedication ceremony held in the South End.
“This new Fitness & Wellness Center once again demonstrates how Boston University is a committed partner in the battle against childhood obesity,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “Boston University is more than a great school, it’s also a great neighbor.”
Established by BU, in conjunction with Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), the new center will house a unique fitness and wellness program developed to help combat teenage obesity in the City of Boston. The program supports Boston Moves for Health, the public health initiative launched by Mayor Thomas M. Menino to increase access to free and low-cost physical activities and healthy living resources.
“We are proud to be part of the Mayor’s efforts to combat obesity and promote wellness in our community,” said Dr. Robert A. Brown. “This new state-of-the-art center will provide important resources for neighborhood residents who want to become more physically activity and to adopt a healthier diet. This also will be a place where volunteering BU students can gain valuable field-work experience in an urban environment while enhancing the well-being of people in our community.”
The center will provide access to quality fitness training, nutrition counseling, and wellness programming for children, youths, and families in at-risk communities. Under the direction and guidance of experts from BU’s Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences and BU’s Schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Social Work, and with input from BU’s Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (PERD) and the Boston Public Health Commission, this initiative will provide youths and families with the skills needed to make physical exercise and healthy choices an enduring part of their lifestyles.
Housed in a renovated section of the BCYF Blackstone Community Center, the South End location was chosen for its potential to maximize outreach to at-risk youths and families, as well as for its proximity to additional health resources available in the region. The design and demolition of the space, previously unused locker rooms and storage space, was overseen by BU. Boston University also supplied all the equipment for the center. The City of Boston’s BCYF, Boston Public Schools and the Capital Construction Division of the Property Management Department, provided electrical and HVAC services, and telecommunications wiring.
The facility is staffed and supervised by members of BU’s Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (PERD). These BU staff members will help train BCYF staff on fitness assessments and self-tracking of personal fitness levels, as well as the proper use of fitness equipment. The equipment used at the center includes personal training space and a mix of up to 25 state-of-the art exercise machines—from treadmills and ellipticals to exercise bikes – and weights. Additional wellness programming will be introduced at a later date and will be staffed by BU.
The program, which will be a 36-hour per week commitment, is open to BCYF Blackstone Community Center members and youth 14 and up. In addition, all BCYF Blackstone members will be able to use the center during operating hours.
In addition to the BU Fitness & Wellness program, the new public health initiative will include 100 summer camp scholarships for area youth. These scholarships, provided by the University annually over the next five years, will be distributed by BCYF staff to local youth. Held at BU, these camps will focus on skills training in basketball, hockey, wrestling, softball, lacrosse, and rowing.
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 16 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission. In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.
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